In relation to gender, race and class, who is the hunter and who is the hunted in Tar Baby? Is there any relation to Brer rabbit and Brer fox?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Brer Rabbit  was the hero of all of Joel Chandler Harris's tales as told by Uncle Remus. Rabbit was representative of the slave class (therefore black), and as a rabbit posed no threat to the slave owners who might overhear these stories. Brer refers to brother, but only in the sense that all of the characters are animals. Rabbit meets many different opponents in these stories, but they are all representative of the slave owners (therefore white). Rabbit uses his cunning not brawn to overcome any obstacles his opponents throw his way. Rabbit is characterized as a sassy ladies man who is quick to lose his temper when he is being disrespected. The Tar Baby, created by Brer Fox to trap Rabbit and eat him, is designed as a female. When she refuses to respond to him, he hits her and becomes stuck in a sticky situation. Using his wits and a little psychology, he pleads not to be thrown in the brier patch which is just where he wants to go.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial